James Noonan PhD

Associate Professor of Genetics and of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Member, Kavli Institute for Neuroscience

Departments & Organizations

Yale Combined Program in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS): Computational Biology and Bioinformatics | Molecular Cell Biology, Genetics and Development: Genetics and Genomics

Office of Student ResearchStem Cell Center, Yale: Stem Cell GeneticsCancer Genetics & GenomicsAnimal OrganogenesisKavli Institute for NeuroscienceGenetics: Noonan Lab


Dr. Noonan received his undergraduate degree in Biology and English Literature (Honors) from Binghamton University in upstate New York. After two years as a research technician at the New York Blood Center, he moved to the Department of Genetics, Stanford University, where he received his Ph.D. in 2004. With Dr. Richard Myers, Dr. Noonan used comparative genomics and de novo genomic sequencing to reconstruct the evolutionary history of the vertebrate protocadherin gene cluster, which encodes cell adhesion molecules required for brain development and synaptic specificity. Dr. Noonan did his postdoctoral work with Dr. Edward Rubin at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute. At LBNL, Dr. Noonan developed a metagenomic library approach in combination with massively parallel 454 pyrosequencing to recover and analyze genomic DNA from 40,000-year old cave bear and Neanderthal remains. As a postdoc Dr. Noonan also worked on methods to identify signatures of human-specific accelerated evolution in noncoding DNA. Dr. Noonan joined the Yale Genetics faculty in September 2007.


  • B.S., State University of New York at Binghamton , 1997
  • Ph.D., Stanford University , 2004

Selected Publication

  • Cotney J, Leng J, Yin J, Reilly SK, DeMare LE, Emera D, Ayoub AE, Rakic P, Noonan JP. (2013). The evolution of lineage-specific regulatory activities in the human embryonic limb. Cell 154:185-196.

Latest Honor and Recognition

  • Mallinckrodt Foundation Fellowship(2008) , Edward J. Mallinckrodt Foundation
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